If you are a member of the WIP Girl community following January’s free self love calendar guide, you know that today is this month’s “lost letter challenge.” And yes, you are probably wondering what the heck that is. So if you are a WIP girl and are reading this to learn more – awesome.. and if you aren’t yet a WIP Girl – 1: Join because it’s free. And 2: Do the lost letters challenge. It’s super healing.
The Idea behind the Lost Letters Challenge
Every so often, when I think back to the girl I once was (the girl I often think about when I write on the What is Perfection Blog) I get overcome with a sense of sadness. I remember the things I used to struggle with, the obstacles I faced, and the challenges that really kept me from feeling fulfilled for a very long time in my life.
I think about my past unhealthy abusive relationships…
The sexual assault that happened when I was 13 and the raped that happened my first year of college…
I think about the friends I have lost, the fights, the loneliness I experienced.
That feeling like “no one understands me.”
The battles I faced with depression and anxiety.. My suicide attempt.
It’s all a lot of heavy shit… and it feels heavy looking at that list of challenges one right after the other, doesn’t it?
I am not that girl anymore.
Which is probably why I feel so completely comfortable opening up and talking about all of those things to you girls… Because I am fully healed, happy, and full of self love. Things I thought were truly impossible back then then when I was struggling. Now I use my past to help other people get off the path of unhappiness. And I take pride in everything I have overcome to be able to do that today.
There are times when I think about the old me, and I just want to go back and hug her… comfort her… tell her things that she needs to know about how wonderful and bright the future is.
I wish the me I am now could be there for the Me I used to be.
And I am sure, for the girls out there struggling with difficult life experiences, they wonder what the future holds for them – and sure, a lot of them feel like what they want is impossible (much like I did back then.)
It would be nice to just press a button and see the future – because if the future was great, it would inspire us to feel hopeful and determined… not stuck and lost in our lives.
The truth is you can have anything you want for yourself.
And when it feels impossible, sometimes you need to instill that sense of certainty… and fight the “it will never get better” feelings.
That’s where the Lost Letters exercise comes in.
Writing the Lost Letter
Early on at the very beginning of my self love healing process, when I was putting my life back together (those messy beginning months) I was still caring that sense of uncertainty. I felt like I wasn’t sure I could put my life back together. It felt like I was a little hamster on a wheel trying so desperately to find a way out. But at the same time, I wasn’t truly confident things would get better.
It wasn’t easy to “fake it till I made it,” all the time.
Somewhere along the way I had an idea.
“If I could just imagine the version of myself I want to be… the things I have, the amazing life I live, the love I experience every day in my life.. If I can get really clear about that… maybe I will be able to feel hopeful enough to keep pushing through this,” I thought.
So I got out a pen and paper and wrote a letter.
I pretended that the person writing it was the future me. She had her beautiful sense of confidence. Her life was happy. Her dreams came true. She felt constantly fulfilled and full of love.
I became a comfort and strength for my own self. It was incredibly healing.
There I was, the future me – with my life totally together, happy, and with everything I ever wanted.
It completely changed my outlook and restored that feeling of hope I was desperately in need of at the time.
I found it incredibly healing. To this day, lost letters is one of the strategies I offer to clients who are learning how to overcome fear, and I decided it was time I share the reflection process with everyone out there who follows this blog.
The Challenge: Write a letter from the future you, to the you that you are now.
-What would you want the present you to know about the amazing future ahead?
-Use your imagination and pretend you are a wise incredibly beautiful version of you… what would you want to say to the you now?
-inspire her, motivate her, comfort her, encourage her. Tell her everything she needs to hear in order to make her way through whatever it is she is facing.
And today, here’s a little glimpse of my old letter.. circa 2012.
I hope you get this at the time in your life when you need it the most. There may be times where you find yourself longing for a reminder of these words.. so keep this letter close.
You may feel alone right now, but there is a reason for that: this is the part of the journey of life where you become the person you have always wanted to be. This is the moment where you will learn and discover things about yourself that you never knew were possible. It is the time when you find strength, determination, and the meaning of true happiness in your life. And as hard as being alone might feel right know, just know – that this is the part of your life where you need to be alone so you can transform into that amazing wonderful you that has been missing your love and attention all these years.
You have been neglecting yourself. You are at this cross roads because you have spent so much time trying to fill a void in your life with all things exterior – relationships, money, physical appearance – the superficial. You have never learned to love yourself. And that is where you are now.. about to embark on that journey.
It may seem hard to be alone… it may seem scary. But it is not without reason. The reason is because for the first time in your life you are going to have this incredible opportunity to learn how to love yourself RIGHT NOW. It will be the most amazing experience. Don’t be afraid to stand tall by yourself.. invest in who you are and what makes you happy.. start definition your worth so others will see how great you are. Soon you will inspire them to do the same.
The future you is not sad. The future you feels beautiful, confident, connected. She is not lost.. she is not scared.. she is not alone. That will happen.
You have lost these unhealthy relationships in your life because they aren’t serving you.. soon you will find amazing new ones that are full of love and respect — because you will learn how to respect yourself and raise your standards.
You feel lost and without purpose because soon you are going to take big scary leaps of faith that will bring you closer to discovering the amazing you that was inside you all along.
You will let go of all those “never enough feelings” soon.. I promise.. you only feel them because you have never learned to feel anything else. This is the part where you learn different.
Don’t ever give up. Remember… everything you want is straight ahead.. Just keep pushing.. keep fighting.. and keep believing that you deserve it.”
Rock bottom is the shittiest place to be.
And I guess, like most of us, I’ve hit it a few times in my life.
Before I was the “What is Perfection” girl, I was actually, the “What the heck is wrong with her” girl.
Because seriously, I was super miserable in my life.
It was so bad, that in 2009 I attempted suicide.
My abusive boyfriend had pushed me over the edge. I had enough.
And I wanted to give up on my life.
So I grabbed a bottle of pills. The next thing I knew,
I was waking up in the hospital with a second chance.
I struggled for a really long time after that.
I knew in my heart that I didn’t want live my life unhappy and insecure.
And I knew there was more to living than hating life. I just had no idea how to change it.
“Life is a succession of lessons which must be lived to be understood.”
But sometimes, it takes you a long time to learn them. Sometimes rockbottom happens a few times before your life can change.
In 2008 – I tried to kill myself.
In 2009 I spent the year in and out of psychiatric wards,
struggling with a drug addiction and suicidal thoughts.
I spent 2010 heavily medicated trying to numb the pain
and the fact that my husband was lying, cheating and using drugs.
in 2011, we went bankrupt.
Financially and emotionally broke.–
I HIT ROCK BOTTOM. AGAIN.
So 2012 I decided to make a change.
I decided I was going to be a
BRAND NEW ME.
The moment I made that decision,
Everything about my nightmare life changed.
-I stopped living at rock bottom.
-I landed my dream job.
-I left my unhappy marriage.
-Found true love.
-I bought a house.
-I got engaged.
-I kicked my addictions.
-I beat my eating disorder.
-I went off medication.
-I ran my first half marathon.
-I lost 60 pounds and took my first vacation.
I found true happiness.
Yes. All of those things happened to me. And they can happen to you too.
Because rockbottom is not permanent. Pain is temporary and all those silly cliches are actually sort of true.
The minute you make a decision to change your life, you can actually change it.
When you make that decision is entirely up to you.
Yes I completely transformed my life.
But it didn’t happen by accident.
It happened with hard work, determination, and endless endless drive to be the person I deserved and wanted to be.
I finally took a stand that year in 2012 when I hit rock bottom.
“The way you have been living is NOT you. YOU deserve BETTER.”
And I realized no one was going to hand me “better.” I needed to go out and fight for it.
If you are ready to fight for your life – don’t wait to go out and create it.
Stop hating yourself… start healing yourself.
I love you, believe in you, and want you to know, whatever you want,
you deserve it.
Choose happiness. At any time you possibly can, choosing happiness is so important. Here’s a lesson I learned on how sometimes, that choice isn’t always easy.
It’s true. Falling out of love can happen. But in my case, I didn’t exactly fall out. I was pushed out. By Heroin.
My husband and I had been together for five years by the time I found out he was addicted to drugs. We had been married for only one of those years, but still, in the time we had been together, I really thought I knew who he was.
But then his addiction started seeping into our relationship and he couldn’t hide it anymore. Money started disappearing. Fighting became more of a constant in our relationship. He started lying about small things that made no sense to be lying about. He stopped looking me in the eyes when he spoke to me. And there were more nights I woke up to find him sick on the couch than I could count.
I didn’t know at the time, but these were all warning signs that the person I loved was falling head first into the cycle of drug addiction.
Many of you who know me and are reading this may think this is a bit of TMI here. I beg to differ. Important stories can make people uncomfortable. Tough. You don’t have to read this. For everyone with a loved one going through something like this, and for everyone going through it themselves, this is for you.
1. Stop Beating Yourself Up: You are not the cause of your loved one’s addiction. Alcoholics Anonymous teaches addicts to accept the fact addiction is a disease they did not choose to have. Though the idea is controversial, one thing is true: It may or may not be your loved one’s fault — but it is certainly NOT yours. Stop thinking back to every stressful situation you may or may not have contributed to. And Stop thinking that you are to blame. You are not the cause. Something bigger is
2. Stop Enabling: There is so much literature on this, and if your loved one really does have an addiction, I suggest you pick up a series of self help books on this topic to educate yourself. I’ll keep it short though: Don’t make using drugs easier for the one you love… because if you do, you are only making it harder for them to stop
3. Educate Yourself: There is so much many of us do not know about the struggle of being an addict. Even though I have been exposed to the drug world in my life — I admit there is so much I am not aware of. The best thing you can do for your loved on is to try to understand as best you can. Read books, speak to experts, go visit an AA Meeting. There are so many ways you can be more of a value to your loved one, but the best way to be a solid support system is by being an educated one. So go read a book. (Note: In my experience, reading memoirs of struggling addicts was a huge awakening experience for me. I have selected a few of my favorite for you at the bottom of this post.)
4. Don’t Compromise Your Own Values: This is something we should always live by, but is especially true in situations like this. It is really important to do your best to not lose yourself in the process of trying to save someone you love. If you find yourself trying to be there for someone that in your heart you know is wrong for you — walk away. And that leads me to the next point.
5. It is OKAY to Walk Away: In my situation, I struggled for about a year trying to help the person I loved. So many people in my life were traditional and old fashion in their views of marriage “is forever,” and I was so afraid to let everyone down. Eventually I walked away because I knew the relationship was only providing me an incredibly unhealthy foundation for my own life. Let me be clear, if you love someone, it is okay to fight for them during a time like this. It’s okay to stay and be there for them and try to encourage them to kick their addiction. But if you feel like in your gut this is only the beginning of a disastrous life — if you feel like in your heart of hearts that this person you love will only be harmful to the potential happiness you have for your own life — and if you feel like the pros of leaving outweigh the cons — Walk Away. Don’t look back. I still send my x-husband light and love every moment I think of him. But I walked away. I walked away because I knew my life would never be the way I wanted it to be if I had stayed. And I knew he wasn’t ready to give up his love for a drug to stay in a loving relationship with me. Leaving was painful, but it was the best thing I could do for myself. You are all you have.
Sign up for Your Free Life Coach Guide! Find Confidence, Feel Beautiful and Transform your Happiness step by step. Make an Amazing Change for Your Life. I'll give you the tools to make it happen!
What is Perfection is the Self Improvement blog for the imperfect girl everywhere. Learn to find happiness, feel beautiful, and be confident in who you are. We all deserve to be happy, and we all deserve to be the best version of us. And we all are truly capable of getting there. Because Perfection Is Impossible. Happiness isn’t. See The Self Improvement E-Guide Collection For Your Life Coaching Guides to Change Your Life Today!